One of the most exciting moments in your pregnancy is when you feel those first little flutters of your baby kicking. These tiny movements reassure you that your baby is developing and help you feel closer to the little life inside of you.
When does the baby start kicking?
You should feel your baby’s first movements, called “quickening,” between weeks 16 and 22 of your pregnancy. If this is your first pregnancy, you may not feel your baby move until closer to 22 weeks. By the second pregnancy, some women start to feel movements as early as 15 weeks. You’re more likely to feel baby move when you’re in a quiet position, either sitting or lying down.
What Does Baby’s Kicking Feel Like?
Pregnant women describe their baby’s movements as butterflies, or a tumbling motion. At first, it may be hard to tell whether your baby has moved. Second- and third-time moms are more adept at distinguishing those first baby movements from gas, hunger pangs, and other internal motions.
Counting normal baby movements
Early in your pregnancy, you may just feel a few flutters every now and then. But as your baby grows — usually by the end of the second trimester — the kicks should grow stronger and more frequent.
Babies tend to move more at certain times of the day as they alternate between alertness and sleep. They are usually most active between 9pm and 1 am, right as you’re trying to get to sleep. This surge in activity is due to your changing blood sugar levels. Babies also can respond to sounds or touch. If you are counting, it helps to chart your baby’s kicks so that you can keep track of your baby’s normal patterns of movement.
If you want to count movements, pick a time when your baby is usually most active (often, this is right after you’ve eaten a meal). Get into a comfortable position either sitting down in a comfortable chair or lying on your side.
Count the kicks preferably at the same time during the day.
Most doctors recommend noting the time it takes for your baby to make 10 movements. You should feel at least 10 movements within a two-hour period.
When do you need to consult your doctor
-If you have reached 25 weeks and don’t feel your baby move, or you’re not sure that what you’re feeling is actually your baby, don’t panic. As your baby grows, you’ll be able to better distinguish his or her movements. You’ll also figure out at what times of the day your baby is most active. Some babies just naturally move less often than others.
-A lack of movement also may mean that your baby is asleep. You may feel fewer kicks and jabs after the 32nd week as your baby gets bigger and has less room to move around in the uterus.
-If you don’t feel your baby move 10 times by the end of two hours, try again later in the day. Then if you still can’t feel 10 movements in two hours, call your doctor, who can check your baby’s heart rate and movements. If your baby’s movements decrease or stop, it may be a sign that there’s a problem.
-If you haven’t felt any movement from your baby by 25 weeks, see your doctor.
-If you have any doubts about your baby’s well being, despite feeling 10 or more movements, it’s safer to have a medical check-up than wait.
Your doctor will check on your baby’s heart rate and movements. If necessary, they’ll send you to hospital for monitoring or treatment.
Timeline of Baby Movement
Here is a guide to your baby’s possible movements.
Week 16: Some pregnant women will start to feel tiny butterfly-like flutters. The feeling might just be gas, or it might be the baby moving.
Week 20: By this point in your baby’s development, you may start to really feel your baby’s first movements, called “quickening.”
Week 24: The baby’s movements are starting to become more established. You might also begin to feel slight twitches as your baby hiccups.
Week 28: Your baby is moving often now. Some of the kicks and jabs may take your breath away.
Week 36: Your uterus is getting crowded as the baby grows, and movements should slow down a bit.
- Dr Prerna Gaur